Amsterdam street photographer Michael van Oostende

The will to take a beautiful photograph has to be stronger than the fear of taking it."

Michael van Oostende (Amsterdam, 1961) took his first photo when he was 26 years old after buying photographic development equipment from a colleague.

Van Oostende was born in the Rustenburger Street in the 'Pijp' neighborhood, but grew up in 'Slotermeer'. He attended the IVKO (Individual Secondary Artistic Education) school, and worked for 10 years as a taxi driver. He fell in love with Amsterdam, that beautiful city with its colorful people.

This love is reflected in his work. Despite, or perhaps because of his sensitivity to psychosis, Michael  chooses to go out into the streets, where life happens right in front of his lens. The camera is his alibi to leave the house.

To take a photo requires patience. This allows time for observation, and brings calmness. The magical moment of taking the photo is perfection recorded on the sensor. Loneliness, romance, a game of light and shadow… it is all there in black and white, and the city of Amsterdam is always the backdrop.

Author: Maaike Klasters